Status: I will be posting a new story soon, so this one might be delayed a bit.

Rarae Aves

Bullies (Again) and an Unwanted Guest


Amber jumped at the sound of glass shattering. It caught her completely by surprise. She had just gotten through with reloading the coupon machine on aisle two and was walking off when she heard the crashing sound behind her. She turned to see a broken jar on the white tiled floor, the jar’s contents on the floor along with it. She looked at the pickles and chunks of glass with curiosity, and then at the place on the shelves where all the jars of pickles were. How did that jar just fall to the floor like that? There was no one around; with the exception of herself, the aisle was empty of people. She just shrugged and went to get stuff to clean the mess up with, assuming that maybe the jar had been sitting on the very edge of the shelf or something, and was bound to fall at any given moment anyway.

She returned to aisle two to find a surprise; a second broken pickle jar was lying on the floor next to the first one. Amber put down all of the cleaning supplies and rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t just imagining things. After blinking a few times, she realized that indeed, there were two pickle jars there. She could’ve sworn it had been only one that had fallen. “I guess I’ve been working so much that now I’m starting to see things,” she figured. She then glanced at the second broken jar lying in a pool of pickle juice. Had that second jar been there the first time? “Or, I’m starting to not see things,” she corrected.

She put on a pair of yellow rubber gloves and started to pick up the glass shards and put them in a little waste basket she had brought with her. She put the lids in there, too, along with the pickle spears. After that, she soaked up the juice with paper towels. Now, all she had to do was get the mop and clean up that area, and put out one of those ‘wet floor’ signs. Well, when she came back, guess what was there? Another pickle jar was lying on the floor in pieces. “Huh?” she wondered, shocked, “I thought I already cleaned…what?” She scratched her head, trying to understand what was happening.

Hiding behind the end cap at the other end of the aisle were none other than June and two of her friends, covering their mouths as they giggled. “Wait, a minute…” Amber said to herself, “I know this jar wasn’t here earlier. Someone’s doing this on purpose.”

“Duh, you think?” muttered June under her breath as her friends kept on giggling.

After seeing Amber with Max in the hallway on their way to lunch, June decided it’d be pretty funny to go wreak havoc at Amber’s workplace. She knew Amber worked at the nearby grocery store because she’d seen her there after school a few times when she went grocery shopping with her mom. June remembered the day she found out Amber worked there. She and her mom went to the store to pick up some ingredients to make a salad. June’s mom had trouble finding the organic, GMO-Free tomatoes, so she sent June to go over and ask the employee that was setting out the bananas on the display. Turned out, said employee was Amber. Of course, June teased and belittled Amber for having a job because “only poor people have jobs,” according to her logic.

June smiled, recalling how funny that day had been. This time was different, though. This time she intentionally came to Amber’s job just to tease her. The first time was a coincidence. She didn’t feel guilty one bit, after all, that little freak had what was coming to her. That’s what she got for changing in their spot in the locker room, for having a smart mouth, and, most importantly, for hanging out with Max. June had been practically boiling inside when she saw Max give her that side hug in the hallway. Why in the hell would he hug a freak like her? Then, she had the audacity to actually push him away. What the hell was wrong with her? Was Amber too dense to realize how good she had it? Normally, a hunk like Max wouldn’t so much as piss on a boy…girl…whatever the hell Amber was supposed to be…like Amber if she were on fire. Yet, there he was, always talking to her and junk. Amber must be a fool if she thought that she was too good to be with Max, or anybody, for that matter. Didn’t Amber realize how gross she was? That’s the way June viewed it in her twisted, little head, anyway. And now, that little weirdo was going to pay.

June peeked around the corner to see Amber picking up the pieces from the jar of pickles that fell, or rather, got pushed off the shelf by June when Amber wasn’t looking. “Should we do it again?” one of the girls that came with her asked. It was the girl with the monogrammed towel in the locker room earlier.

“Not yet, Annie, not yet,” June whispered back. June made sure that Amber didn’t catch her peeking from behind the end cap.

“Okay, finally took care of that,” Amber stated after she finished mopping up the area and put down a ‘wet floor’ sign, “It’s probably a bunch of twerp kids playing pranks. I hope they don’t do it again.” She went to go put up the supplies.

“Now?” Annie asked, eager to knock down a jar.

“Let’s give it some time,” June answered, “Come on, let’s hide over here.” The three girls waited a few minutes in the next aisle over, pretending to look at canned meat.

“Eww, they actually make ham in a can?” June’s other friend, Katie, questioned in disgust. Katie had been the girl that made the accusation earlier that day that Amber didn’t have breasts right before they started chanting in the locker room.

“I doubt that’s real ham,” June scoffed, “Everyone knows poor people eat slop.”

“Yeah,” agreed Annie.

After a few more minutes, June figured it’d be funny to knock down a jar one last time. “Go on, Annie,” she commanded, “Do it.” Annie ran over to the next aisle, and, once she made sure no one else was there, pushed down a jar and ran back to her friends.

Amber was going in and out of the store at the time, gathering the shopping carts from the buggy corrals in the parking lots and bringing them back into the store. When she came in with the last batch of carts, over the intercom, she heard, “Cleanup Aisle Two.”

“Aisle two,” she groaned, “Oh great, they did it again.” She rushed towards the back of the store to get the mop and all that stuff again. More than likely, she’d end up being the first at the scene, anyway. After getting what she needed, she did a sort of walk-run past the customers. Once she got to aisle two, she hurried over to the end where the pickles were. She had failed to consider the ‘wet floor’ sign that she had put down earlier and ended up slipping over the moist, white tiles, falling forwards. Amber toppled over all of the stuff she had been holding and hit the floor hard, face only a mere inch from a shard of glass.

June, Katie, and Annie had witnessed the whole scene. Annie and Katie began cackling wickedly, but June, forcing herself to hold in her laughter, commanded them to shut up. The three of them were red-faced as they shook and snorted, suppressing their chuckles. Amber was moaning in pain on the floor; that fall had really hurt. Luckily, it wasn’t something serious. She got herself up off the floor and started cleaning. After all, that was all she could do, right? No one would care that she had fallen. Her boss would just yell at her, most customers were oblivious to her existence, and none of the co-workers she socialized with were working that day. Once the floor was glass-free and shined so much that she could see her own reflection, Amber went to go perform her next task. June and the girls hatched out another cruel plan, but they wanted to wait it out before they acted upon it.

An hour later, Amber was stocking bags of potato chips on the shelves on another side of the store. The three mean girls crept on over and watched her for a second. The loser was focused on her work, and her back was towards them. She didn’t even know that they were there. Katie silently giggled as June pushed her over towards Amber, egging her on do act out on their plan. “Oh, excuse me sir,” she sang, tapping Amber on the shoulder, “Can you help me find…?”

Amber felt someone tap her on the shoulder, and she heard a female voice refer to her as “sir”. At first, she didn’t think anything of it. Because she had such short hair, a lot of people mistook Amber as a guy when they only saw her back profile. It was just a common mistake, or at least that’s what she thought…until she saw a familiar face smirking at her. “Oh God, that girl from the locker room,” she panicked, “And she’s here with June and that other girl from gym class. Oh God, what do they want now?”

“Oh!” Katie squealed, jumping back, hand over her heart, “Damn, it’s you. Shit, I thought you were a guy.” She was lying; of course, she knew it was Amber all along.

“Well, I’m not,” Amber returned, “Why don’t you three just leave me alone?’

“Is that anyway to talk to clientele?” scolded June, arms crossed and head shaking.

“Please, just go. Didn’t you mess with me enough today?” Amber muttered, returning to the bags of chips.

“Don’t look away when we’re talking at you, ugly,” Katie grunted at Amber. Yes, that’s right, talking at het, not to her.

Amber found herself becoming tense for a second, but only for a second, due to Katie’s words. “Don’t listen to that crap,” she thought to herself, as she went back to what she was doing. She thought about what her dad had told her once when she had told him those kids at school called her ugly. She always thought about it when someone called her that.

“Yeah, you ugo, don’t be so rude,” teased Annie.

“That’s your opinion,” Amber responded dryly.

“Shut up,” snapped Annie.

“Wait a minute,” June spoke up, noticing something a little different about Amber’s appearance, “What’s this?” She walked over to Amber’s side and reached towards her hair. Amber shooed her hand away, but then June quickly grabbed her by the chin and moved her face so that she was looking at her.

“Hey, stop! Don’t touch me!” Amber got away from her grasp temporarily, but then June got up in her space again and poked at the bobby pin in Amber’s hair, the one her boss made her wear.

“What the hell is that supposed to be?” sneered June, “Your pathetic attempt at trying to look more ‘feminine?’” She made air quotes with her fingers as she said the word ‘feminine.’

“How sad,” Annie laughed. Amber reached up to touch the pin, biting her lip uneasily.

“Well, hate to break it to you, Ambeast, but you don’t look feminine. You just look like an emo boy that shops at the beauty supply store.” June’s harsh words were making Amber’s cheeks flush red. The two other girls laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world.

“Stop it,” she told herself, “Stop letting them push you around. They already tormented you once today; don’t let them do it again. Don’t listen to what they say. Stand up to them.”

“Hahaha, did you guys hear what I called her?” June talked in a snobby, nasally voice, “I called her ‘Ambeast.’” More laughter followed.

Amber gulped, and her hands clenched into tight fists by her sides. She was going to take up for herself. She got pushed around enough as it was by people she couldn’t stand up to; she didn’t need to take more crap from her peers. She lifted her head with pride. She stared right into June’s eyes.
“Hey, what the heck is going on over there?” wondered Kyle, the store’s day shift manager. He was staring at multiple screens, each showing a different part of the store via camera. He could see one of his employees, Amber, playing around, talking to a group of girls. “What? I don’t pay her to talk to her friends. She’s on the clock! What the hell? I’m going to have to set her straight.” He quickly rose from his chair and exited his office.


“Well, I may be a beast,” Amber started bravely, “But, you sure aren’t any beauty. None of you are. You think you’re prettier than me because you have longer hair, because you have globs of makeup all over your face? You think that makes you pretty?”

“Well, yeah…” was June’s rejoinder.


“Stupid Amber,” Kyle muttered as he stomped throughout the store, “I’m not paying her to talk to her little girly friends about shoes, chocolate, and glittery rainbows, damn it!” He couldn’t believe she had the nerve to goof off for the second day in a row. How dare she?


“You think you’re better than me because you have money and designer clothes? Well, you’re no different than anyone else. You’re shallow and mean. Is that why you doll yourself up so much, because you feel that no one will like you without all the fakery? Well, no one’s ever going to like you with that bad attitude of yours,” Amber was giving a little speech, saying everything that was on her mind.

“Shut up, Amber! You’re just jealous of me,” whined June.

A smirk played on Amber’s lips. She knew exactly what to say. “I’m jealous of you, huh? No, no, no, it’s you that’s jealous of me.”

“What the hell makes you think I’d ever be jealous of you, Ambeast?”

“You’re jealous because I hang out with Max,” Amber grinned, remembering what Max had told her under the bleachers that day.

June’s eyes widened and her face turned ghost white. “W-what?” was all she could find herself saying.

“I know what happened at that party,” Amber told her, “I know how much it eats you up inside that Max declined when you asked him out. I know it upsets you to see him around any other girls, even if they’re just his friends, especially me.”

“Eww,” shrieked Annie, “Don’t tell me you actually like Max. He sits with the Ambeast and all those other weirdoes.”

“I-I don’t.”

“Oh, but you do,” chuckled Amber, feeling like she won this one, “It just kills you, doesn’t it?”

Boiling inside, June was shaking with rage. She was completely at a loss, stunned by the fact that Amber brought up her crush on Max. Due to being so angry and embarrassed, she couldn’t think of a good comeback, so she just settled for pushing Amber into the nearby pyramid of cracker boxes. The three girls cackled like hyenas. Amber gritted her teeth. She had already let them push her and make her feel bad once that day; she wasn’t going to let it happen again. Amber got up, about to push June back, but then a voice stopped her.

“What’s going on here?” Kyle demanded. He did not like what he saw; the cracker display as ruined, and one of his employees was about to push a customer. “Amber, damn it, what are you doing? Where you just about to hurt that girl?” Amber’s hands dropped down to her sides, and her gaze fell upon the floor. “What happened to the cracker display?” he questioned.

“Klutzy Amber knocked it over,” Katie lied.

“Oh, it’s just like you to do something like that, Amber,” Kyle scolded, “Now, you better put those boxes back in pyramid form right now if you want to keep your job. I’m getting tired of your crap.” Amber quickly began to organize the boxes. “And you three,” he continued, “Either buy something or get out. No loitering is allowed and neither is distracting my employees. All of you keep your hands to yourselves.” And with that, he was gone.

Even though Kyle had told them to leave, June and the other two still hung around, bothering Amber the entire time. No one even cared. It was only two minutes until she would be able to clock out when June decided to make the remark, “I don’t know why Max would like you anyway. You have a flat ass. Those baggy pants only make it worse.”

“See, that proves it,” Amber concluded.

“Proves what?”

“That you are, indeed, jealous of me.”

“I’m not jealous of you, Ambeast. In fact, it’s you who is jealous of me, and I know it.”

“Why would I be jealous of you, June? Why? Because you’re rich and popular. I don’t care about stuff like that.”

“No,” June grimaced, “You’re jealous because, unlike you, I still have both of my parents.” Amber forgot how to breathe as she felt her heart drop down into her stomach. June gave a wink before she and her friends finally left. Amber just stood there speechless, too aghast to react, too aghast to cry.


“…Because, unlike you, I still have both of my parents.” Those words kept echoing throughout her head on the bus ride home. “I still have both of my parents…parents…parents.” A tear rolled down Amber’s cheek as she stared out the window. The sky was grey, littered with storm clouds that were heavy with rain that was just aching to fall.

“Don’t be such a baby, Amber,” she scolded herself, “You’re in public. Stop crying every time someone makes fun of you.”

“Aww…she’s going to cry,” the voice of one of the girls in the locker room earlier that day rang in her head, “Poor little baby.”

“Crap, she’s right!”, Amber thought, “You’re nothing but a big baby and a loser. Stupid baby. All you ever do is cry and whine and complain.”

The bus made one of its usual stops and picked up a handful of new passengers. Amongst said handful were a father and his daughter. Amber couldn’t help but watch them as they boarded and sneak glances at them out of the corner of her eye every now and again. The little girl was the only child on the bus, and she was so little and cute. She had silky ebony hair and wore a pink shirt with denim overalls. Her sneakers were kind of dirty, probably from playing, and she had various hair barrettes in her hair of things like ponies and such. They weren’t even holding her hair back, or anything, they were just randomly placed in there. Surely, that was the little girl’s idea. She also held a stuffed rabbit. Her dad was kind of pudgy and wore denim shorts that were sagging off his butt and a white tank top. He looked kind of thuggish based on appearance, but watching him interact with his daughter was enough to show that he was nice.

No one on the bus even paid any attention to their existence, no one, except Amber, who couldn’t help but notice how sweet it was. They both seemed to be in their own little world and not on some smelly, ancient city bus full of creepy strangers. It was obvious by the way they conversed with each other, the way the father kissed his daughter multiple times, the way she made cute faces at him…they had no interest in what was going on around them. It was like they were shielded from the filthy world by some kind of wall. The wall was made up of love and happiness. The little girl was constantly smiling. Or course she was; she was with her daddy. How could she be sad with him around? A pang of sadness struck Amber’s heart as she saw the scene that was playing out one seat over. She couldn’t take it anymore; she couldn’t keep watching them. It was just too much.

“I remember when my life used to be like that,” she recalled sadly, hand reaching up to touch where the necklace she always wore under her shirt was, “Oh, Daddy, what I wouldn’t do to have you back.” She sighed heavily, chest still hurting. She needed something to distract her, so she got out her drawing notebook. However, instead of drawing like she had planned, she found herself filling the empty page with her feelings. She wrote:

“Daddy, you just don’t know how much I love and miss you. I think about you every day, and it makes my heart hurt and my stomach tie in knots. I hate life without you, Daddy. Not because Delia is mean to me and makes me work all the time, but because you’re not here. I just want you here. Even though, if you were here, you’d hate me. I would understand, though, seeing as I’m nothing but a waste of space. I can’t seem to do anything right. I’m so stupid, not the smart daughter you wanted me to be.

I never bother studying like I should, and I never do homework. I’m doing miserably in school, Dad. I’m sorry. I skipped a class today, Dad. I skip class a lot. I know I’m disappointing you. I know that if you were alive today and were to see the last report card I got, you’d be mad and scold me. I know you wanted me to care about education, but I just don’t have the strength to care. What’s the point? I’m never going to go to college like you wanted me to. I’m never going to succeed at anything at life. Whenever I do try to do my school work, I never understand it. All of the words and numbers just get jumbled up in my head. I’m always goofing up at work. Kyle is always yelling at me. Then, at home, Delia always yells at me when I mess up. You’d yell at me too if you were to come back. You’d be so angry if you saw me now. I know that this isn’t how you imagined I’d be as a teenager. I wouldn’t mind if you yelled at me, though…at least you’d be here. I’m sorry, and I miss you.”

She sighed heavily as she shut the notebook, chest feeling tight. Her jaw was sore as she kept it clenched in an attempt to hold in any tears. “Don’t cry, don’t cry.” She cut her eyes over to the side and saw the father giving his daughter a peck on the forehead. “Damn it,” she muttered as she buried her face in her hands. She bit her lip, still refusing to cry. She lifted her head as the bus made another stop and picked up more people. Amber put her notebook back in her bag. Some really smelly guy got on board and, as one of the universe’s nasty little jokes, ended up sitting in the exact same seat as her. As Amber breathed, she could smell his musty odor. “Ugh…jeeze, he smells like sweat, cheese, and…rotting tuna. Oh, gross!” she thought. He smelled so disgusting, and he didn’t seem to care about basic hygiene. Amber didn’t like it, but she didn’t dare say anything. She didn’t want to be rude. Maybe he was in a position in his life where he was unable to bathe regularly. She switched from breathing out her nose to breathing out her mouth, but it didn’t help all that much. She coughed and gagged most of the journey, despite the fact that she tried to suppress it. The unpleasant aroma that reeked off of him was causing the teenage girl’s stomach acid to churn, making her feel a little sick.

Not to mention, every time the guy moved to do something, he’d always bump into her and not even acknowledge it. It’s like he didn’t even give a damn that she was even there. “Excuse me, do you mind? You’re kind of squishing me,” she said politely, “Do you think you could just slide over to the left an inch?” No response. “Oh, um, could you please stop elbowing me in the ribs?” she found herself saying a few minutes later. Also, during the ride, she found herself having to ask things such as, “Your foot is in my lap. Could you please uncross your legs?” and “Please don’t kick at my feet like that.” He never listened, though. Sometimes, he’d actually give her a look that said ‘What’re you going to do about it?’as he kept on doing what she had asked him not to. She was so relieved when they got to her stop.

“This is my stop,” Amber told him as she gathered her things. He didn’t move a muscle. Amber rolled her eyes and grumbled, “Get up,” getting frustrated. Nothing. “I said, get up so I can leave.” She crossed her arms. She wasn’t usually the type to be rude, but this was getting ridiculous. She wasn’t in the mood. He rose and let her into the aisle. “Thanks,” she muttered, putting her backpack on her shoulders. As she walked off, she heard him utter a word that rhymed with witch. She gritted her teeth at his comment as she put her thumbs under her pack’s straps.

“Great, time to go home and get yelled at,” she complained in her mind. She began rubbing her temples, trying to relieve her aching head. Too much was going on up there, making her mental gears turn way too quickly. She had had a bad day, and couldn’t help but harp on it. Feeling tired like always, she groaned as she saw her driveway come into view. “God, I just want to crawl in a hole and hide forever,” she voiced as she noticed something strange, “Wait a minute, whose car is that?” Sitting in the driveway next to Delia’s sports car was a navy blue four-door car with a bumper sticker with a sexually suggestive joke on it.

“Is somebody here?” she asked herself, even though she knew the answer. The only person that ever came to their house was Delia’s friend from the boutique, Ruby. Amber couldn’t stand Ruby; the woman had such a bad attitude. “That can’t be her, though,” Amber said to no one in particular. She remembered what Ruby’s car looked like. It was mint green with pastel pink polka dots, and it had plastic eyelash decorations on the head lights. She bit her lip as she stared at the bumper sticker, which proclaimed the driver’s love of perky female breasts. More than likely, it was a guy’s car. “Her boyfriend,” the young girl whispered, stomach starting to quiver nervously. Amber never wanted to meet the guy, whoever he was, and now he was in their house.

She was in a situation where she’d be in a mess no matter what her decision. She had no interest in meeting this stranger because if either of them untangled from the other long enough to notice her existence, she’d end up having to cater to both Delia and her “guest.” That’s exactly what she needed, someone else to push her around in her own home. Not to mention, Amber already knew that the guy was going to be nothing but trouble. Delia had had a lot of boyfriends in the past, but rarely did any of them actually set foot in their house. The only ones that did that were the ones that Delia got “serious” with. So far, this new guy was going to be “serious” boyfriend number three. Amber remembered the last two well; let’s just say she didn’t take a liking to them. As far as she was concerned the only person of substance that Delia had ever dated was Amber’s dad. How she managed to snag a catch like him, Amber didn’t understand.

Amber was apprehensive; she really didn’t want to go inside and wanted to avoid any potential drama that was sure to lie ahead. He was probably a creep, a jerk, or…something worse. She chewed at her bottom lip. The truth was, it was getting late and was probably going to rain soon, and she had nowhere else to go. Even if she did, Delia would yell at her and probably punish her for not coming home. She wouldn’t do it out of concern for the girl’s safety, but because she wanted to cut off Amber form the rest of the world as much as possible. She had no choice but to go in or just stand there. Standing there wasn’t looking like much of an option, considering how one of their neighbors was now staring at her. If Amber just kept standing out there in front of the house, surely the guy watching would come over and ask her why.

She didn’t want to be afraid to walk into her own house. Besides, Amber was miserable and just wanted to hurry up and get her chores done so she lay down in the only place she found her comfort---her bedroom. “Maybe if I’m lucky, they won’t even hear me come in. Maybe they’ll be in her bedroom…” Amber shivered as the thought of what the two would be doing in her bedroom, “Maybe I can just sneak in and hide in my room. Maybe they’ll be too distracted to bother me,” she figured.

And, with that, she walked up to the door and entered the house. She ended up regretting it.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks so much to Taneisha for helping me with this chapter again.